Baykoy and The Only Something
This is a gripping and magical tale of a little Filipino girl who goes by an endearing nickname, Baykoy.
It’s a wild-bursting battle against her beliefs in angels and the powers of heaven as she gets to confront and experience the supernatural realms that may hold the supreme truths of death and life cycles while coping with grief and loss.
The story is told through the heart-convulsing letters of a woman to her niece, detailing her childhood in the Philippines.
The Best Buddies
Grandma and grandpa got me, not just one puppy, but two cute puppies. They were given by a neighbor. So I named them ‘Kidlat’ and ‘Kuwago’. To keep their memories alive.
It must be a fluke!
A beautiful fluke!
Contrary to my actual encounters, Kidlat was the intuitive and behaved one while Kuwago just couldn’t stop frolicking around. Kidlat was black while Kuwago was brown.
The first time I met them, I looked into their eyes and the names clicked in right away. Without even considering their personalities. Well, of course, I never thought of that anymore. Who would do such a thing, anyway? You must name your pets the moment they come into your life. And here I was, an elated little girl, already frisking around with my two best buddies. My very first best buddies. Kidlat and Kuwago.
While our new house was being built just right off the vast vegetable garden, Kidlat, Kuwago and I would join the carpenters to help out. They said we should go away ‘cause it was too dangerous.
Grandma and grandpa got a little upset with me, so I had to sit in the class for the rest of the day now. Grandma said I had to do what the first grade kids were doing, along with some reading homework.
My life fell apart. Seriously.
I sat at grandma’s desk to work on a few exercises.
First, it was about the Alphabet. I had to fill in the blanks.
Next, I had to identify some words. It was about fruits.
Next, I had to draw the given shapes. And I had no idea how hard it was to draw a good circle. What a struggle!
Kidlat was curled up under the desk, falling asleep. While Kuwago looked a bit agitated, wagging its tail and moaning a little bit.
I had to pet Kuwago to calm him down. Something was wrong. I figured he needed to get out to poop or pee or… Not sure, really.
Grandma came over to check on my work, then looked at me and said, “You can go and play now.”
I didn’t believe her at first. I was still stuck in the chair. I wanted to know if I did a good job on the exercises or not. A play meant a reward. I must have done something good then, but I still needed a nice word for validation. Regardless.
“Did I do everything right?” I asked her.
“What do you think?” was her reply.
And it confused me a lot more.
“Would you want to go over them again?” she said.
It would mean I would have to do everything again from start to finish. And I refused to do so.
But then it would bother me for a long while if I wouldn’t. And I was already tired. So what was I supposed to do now? I only needed a nice word. Why couldn’t she just give it to me, so my head would be set free?
A nice word is hard to earn.
The only something.
— Indomitable —
I ended up sitting there all through recess instead just to review all my finished exercises. I knew I had them right, but a good amount of self-doubt was still eating off my time. While Kidlat was patiently waiting for me to get up and Kuwago kept himself busy with snooping outside.
The kids were all out on the ground, bouncing around, playing outdoor games. A lot of hollers, screaming, bursting laughs, teasing and prattling… invading into my already messed-up head. I had been punished.
Or did I punish myself?
Grandma showed up with a muffin and hot chocolate. She also brought some weird treats for Kidlat and Kuwago. She fed them first, then delivered her full attention to me. “So you’re done?” she asked.
I nodded. She browsed through them in one quick shot. I waited for a nice word. Again. I waited and waited and… Kidlat and Kuwago struck their pleading poses beside me, along with moans. Their cute moans. Like heart-melting moans.
“Finish your snack, then go play,” grandma said.
“But…” I was still waiting for a nice word. How could I get a nice word?
She looked like she knew what I was waiting for, but she just deliberately dismissed it.
I had never thrown tantrums before. I had never disrespected your grandparents and our elders. And I certainly didn’t want to pull an insolent act on your great grandmother. But this time around, I couldn’t contain my frustration anymore. I didn’t know if crying would help or should I just forget about the whole ‘nice word validation’ thing or… Yes. I deserved to be a little girl who could also throw a big baby tantrum when a situation would call for it.
I thought of storming out with the loudest yowl I could ever snag out of my energy. Or throwing the muffin away and knocking down my hot chocolate. Or soaring out of the chair and slamming stuff around.
Kidlat rested his paws on my thighs. His eyes were a bit watery. While Kuwago barked at me and growled a little bit.
Grandma giggled. She understood. She knew what I was feeling.
“Would you want to play first, then have your snack later?” she said. “Go. The little ones are getting cranky now. Go on.”
If I were to ask her again, I knew she would still give me the same answer. The answer being ‘no nice word validation needed anymore’. Which would mean I would be forced to go through them again.
I decided to just devour my snack instead. As Kidlat and Kuwago eased off.
Kidlat went back to his nap under the desk. While Kuwago hopped away to snoop into the kids.
Grandma snatched an old fairy-tale book from the shelf, then handed it to me. “Your reading homework,” she said. “We’ll go through it together at home. Nothing to worry.”
“What’s it about?” I asked.
“However you see the book cover,” she replied.
A beautiful young woman and a handsome young man. Admiring each other as they held hands. With a mesmerizing smile on their faces.
I gagged. “Is it really a children’s book?”
“Believe it or not, it is,” she said. “And it’s supposed to be one of the best fairy-tales in the world.”
This book looked different from the books your mother and I had rummaged through in our old home.
Its large illustrations had saturated and bright colors. The letters were not clumped up together, which would make the words an easy read.
I loved the drawings and the way the words were printed. I just didn’t like the story idea of this… supposedly one of the best fairy-tales in the world.
A world’s best can be a paradox.
The only something.
— Indomitable —